In vivo fluorescence and bioluminescence optical imaging are playing an increasing important role in studies of gene and protein expression, and other cellular level activities with very high measurement sensitivity. But their applications are limited by low spatial resolution for deep targets. X-ray imaging is often used as an anatomical imaging tool because of its high resolution. But its application in molecular imaging is limited because of its low contrast sensitivity. We propose a hybrid imaging modality, X-ray luminescence optical tomography (XLOT), to image X-ray excitable nanoparticles in turbid media with both high molecular contrast sensitivity and good spatial resolution, independent of the target depth. A high resolution X-ray beam is used to excite phosphor nanoparticles such as Gd2O2S:Eu (GOS) along a single line through the object. Optical photons emitted by the excited GOS are detected with a sensitive electron-multiplying charge coupled device (EMCCD). By scanning the x-ray beam across the subject, the EMCCD measurements are used to reconstruct the particle concentration using the known excitation locations with a model based reconstruction method. Structural x-ray images also can be produced at the same time. We have built a XLOT prototype system with 2 mm diameter collimated X-ray beam and an EMCCD camera. The X-ray beam scanned a transverse section of phantoms. Embedded cylindrical targets (4.8 mm diameter, 5.7 mm deep) with microscale GOS particles at concentrations of 1.0 mg/mL and 0.2 mg/mL were reconstructed successfully with XLOT but X-ray imaging alone could not detect them due to its low contrast sensitivity. The goal of this proposal is to develop and characterize a XLOT system suitable for in vivo imaging studies, that also can concurrently produce anatomic X-ray CT images. A second goal is to optimize platform phosphor nanoparticle cores that can be functionalized and used with XLOT imaging in support of a broad range of research and development in the rapidly expanding field of nanomedicine.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal seeks to develop a novel X-ray luminescence optical tomography (XLOT) system for small animal imaging which combines the high measurement sensitivity of optical imaging and high spatial resolution of X-ray imaging. The innovation is the use of a collimated X-ray beam to turn on the X-ray excitable nanoparticles in very specific parts of the body. By scanning the X-ray beam across the subject, high resolution and high sensitivity maps of the distribution of these nanoparticles can be reconstructed. This new imaging technology will serve as a valuable tool in the development and characterization of new nanoparticles designed for therapeutic or diagnostic applications, thus supporting and catalyzing translational research efforts in the rapidly developing field of nanomedicine.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Biomedical Imaging Technology Study Section (BMIT)
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Conroy, Richard
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University of California Davis
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Engineering
United States
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Sudheendra, L; Das, Gautom K; Li, Changqing et al. (2014) NaGdF4:Eu(3+) Nanoparticles for Enhanced X-ray Excited Optical Imaging. Chem Mater 26:1881-1888
Li, Changqing; Martínez-Dávalos, Arnulfo; Cherry, Simon R (2014) Numerical simulation of x-ray luminescence optical tomography for small-animal imaging. J Biomed Opt 19:046002
Li, Changqing; Di, Kun; Bec, Julien et al. (2013) X-ray luminescence optical tomography imaging: experimental studies. Opt Lett 38:2339-41